Monday, May 09, 2022

MOTHER'S DAY!

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. For those who celebrate I pray that it was everything you wanted and needed the day to be.

Although I had a very pleasant day, it is always a bittersweet experience for me. Since birth, my sister and I have gone to church with our mother every Mother’s Day. Unless of course I was living out of the country on an island, or the sister was away in college. Yesterday, we came together with my granddaughter in tow to continue that tradition. The Pretty Princess and I rose early to make it in time for service at Morehead Avenue Baptist Church to get the word from mommy’s pastor, Reverend Charles C. Barnes, Sr. My mother was ecstatic and that brought me much joy. I don’t take it for granted that at her age, with her declining health, that we are immensely blessed to still have her here with us. Brunch followed. We laughed and reminisced and our time spent together was a breath of fresh air for my spirit.

For many, many years I have claimed six children. The ex-husband came with four, fathered the fifth with his mistress and we shared the youngest. Some who know me, believe they are all mine by birth, and I have never before felt it necessary to correct that assumption. They were mine and I loved all of them with every fiber of my being. I took them to school, cheered at all their extracurricular activities, wiped away tears and fussed when they did wrong. I was there during their formative years, the younger bunch from birth. I did what a mother did to the best of my ability and I was practically a child myself. More times than not I got it right, but those times when I made mistakes, I thought them monumental. Most mothers do.

When the divorce happened, the older kids were adults with families of their own. I know that their father smeared my name at every opportunity, but I was so hell bent on being free from his abuse that I didn’t care. I thought the bond I shared with them would be enough. They knew me. Knew my heart. Knew I loved them beyond measure, no matter what was said about me. That first Mother’s Day when I heard not one word from any of them, I was devastated. I sat in church with my own mother trying to figure out what I’d done wrong.

The second year didn’t hurt as much. By year five I’d become numb to it all. The one child I had birthed still wished me a good day and joined me and his grandmother at church. Then suddenly that went left. I became persona non grata. He told me he hated me and blamed me for everything that was wrong in his life. He turned on me, his wrath so vapid that it still has me reeling. I had to be reminded that it wasn’t personal, it was his mental illness. But it felt as personal as personal could ever get. It was pain in a way I have never experienced hurt before. I cried continuously when no one was watching. There were times I could barely breathe thinking about it, wondering if I would survive. It was unfathomable grief and through it all I kept smiling, kept saying I was fine, and hid it from others to the best of my ability.

Things have gotten better. The holiday is no longer as difficult to navigate as it was in years prior. I’ve learned not to great Mother’s Day with any expectations. Yesterday, I received two messages. The first was from my new bonus son, saying he loved me and appreciated me and wishing me the best day ever. The second came from my youngest, apologizing for not calling, but he wasn’t well. He hoped I had a good day. Both greetings made me happy.

Big Daddy and the Pretty Princess gave me a Mother’s Day parade. They showered me with affection and love and presented me with the sweetest cards and the most generous gifts. And then I sat in church with my mommy, feeling immensely blessed.

 

 

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

ISLAND QUEEN by Vanessa Riley

I love a great historical novel and ISLAND QUEEN by renowned author Vanessa Riley is one that should not be missed. And now it's on sale!!! Learn more here: https://bit.ly/IQsaleDV

Island Queen  is a remarkable, sweeping historical novel based on the incredible true-life story of Dorothy Kirwan Thomas, a free woman of color who rose from slavery to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful
landowners in the colonial West Indies. Accolades for the story and for the author have been sweeping!
 
“Richly detailed, vividly depicted, and sweeping in scope, Island Queen is historical fiction at its absolute finest. A stunning must-read!” — Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author of The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba
 
“Island Queen is the magnificently reconstructed life story of Dorothy "Doll" Kirwan Thomas, whose fascinating legacy of grit and success desperately deserves to be better known. With lush prose and raw emotion, Riley vividly captures the complexity of bringing to life a time of rebellion and possibility.”    — New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Stephanie Dray
 
“Reading Island Queen and I am riveted. RIVETED, I tell you! Whew! That woman can WRITE! What a book!”
   — Kristan Higgins, from Twitter

Born into slavery on the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat, Doll bought her freedom—and that of her sister and her mother—from her Irish planter father and built a legacy of wealth and power as an entrepreneur, merchant, hotelier, and planter that extended from the marketplaces and sugar plantations of Dominica and Barbados to a glittering luxury hotel in Demerara on the South American continent.
 
Vanessa Riley’s novel brings Doll to vivid life as she rises above the harsh realities of slavery and colonialism by working the system and leveraging the competing attentions of the men in her life: a restless shipping merchant, Joseph Thomas; a wealthy planter hiding a secret, John Coseveldt Cells; and a roguish naval captain who will later become King William IV of England.
 
From the bustling port cities of the West Indies to the forbidding drawing rooms of London’s elite, Island Queen is a sweeping epic of an adventurer and a survivor who answered to no one but herself as she rose to power and autonomy against all odds, defying rigid eighteenth-century morality and the oppression of women as well as people of color. It is an unforgettable portrait of a true larger-than-life woman who made her mark on history.

Buy a copy for you or a friend:  https://bit.ly/IQsaleDV

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

CONFIDENCE IS EVERYTHING!

 I was feeling myself today. I woke early, nothing hurt, and I felt ready to take on the world. The Pretty Princess hopped out of bed without being prodded and she too greeted the new day with a bright smile and no grumbling. I had two quick errands to run this morning, so after dropping the Princess off to another day in second grade, and the Paw off to the groomers for a much-needed haircut, I made a quick run to the post office and then to the library. Errands complete I decided to swing by my favorite store for a quick browse. I reasoned it was early, there wouldn’t be a big crowd and I might have an opportunity to shop the aisles in peace.

It was my lucky day! One elderly woman entered before me. Two staff members greeted us, and we had the entire store to ourselves! In times of a pandemic this was an epic moment! The other woman headed in one direction, and I headed in the other. We passed each other in the home goods section, avoiding all contact.

And then I turned down another aisle and there he stood. Even with a mask I could tell he was a nice-looking guy. He was large with an athletic frame, closely cropped haircut, and a warm umber complexion. There was the barest hint of gray in his hair, and he carried himself with an air of maturity. After a quick assessment (okay, maybe not so quick) I apologized and turned to head in the opposite direction.

“No problem,” he said, the timber of his voice sliding like butter against my ears. “I hope you’re having a good morning?”

“I am, thank you for asking,” I responded.

“I’m looking for a gift for my mother,” he said as if I’d asked. Maybe there was something in my eyes that questioned why he was looking at China serving pieces.

“Well, aren’t you sweet!”

“She has everything so it’s near impossible to shop for her and it’s her 85th birthday.”

“What a blessing! I’m sure she’ll love anything you get her. I have no doubts that just spending time with you will be the best gift ever.”

I could see him smile behind that mask and he nodded. We chatted for a few more minutes and then he continued on his search as I resumed my browsing. Heading to the children’s section of the store I found myself grinning, thinking I still got it! Appreciating that I couldn’t tell you what “it” was if you paid me. I just knew I felt good. I felt confident and emboldened and immensely blessed.

He was paying for his selections as I exited the store. A minute or two later he called out across the parking lot. “Would you like to grab a cup of coffee?”

I waved. “Thanks for the invite, but I don’t think my husband would appreciate that.”

He laughed and nodded. “I understand completely. He’s a lucky man, your husband.”

I laughed with him. “You have a good day and happy birthday to your mother!”

Sliding into the driver’s seat of my car, I did a little shoulder shimmy as Ginuwine’s song, Pony, blasted out of the speakers. I sat in all that confidence for a good, few minutes, then I looked at myself in the rear-view mirror.

I’d left the house and forgotten to comb my hair and I hadn't put on an ounce of makeup!

Confidence is everything!

Friday, December 24, 2021

Dear Santa Claus

 

Dear Santa Claus,

How are you doing? I pray this finds you safe and well.

As I write this, I know you were just spotted in the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. You’re expected to arrive in Bolivia shortly. I’m envious. You’re still able to travel around the world. Many of us can neither afford that luxury nor are we willing to take the risk travel holds today. I have no doubt that you are vaccinated and boostered. We all know this pandemic is nothing to play around with. I always air on the side of caution. Better safe now than sorry later. Just make sure you keep a mask close in case you bump into anyone along your trek tonight.

It’s been quite a year, Santa! After 2020 there was expectation and hope that this year would move us past viruses and quarantines and return us to a semblance of normalcy. That didn’t unfold in the way we’d anticipated. We are still plagued with illness and loses, and things are far from the normal we all remember. We now have Omicron, a new variant to the virus, and more people are willing to put themselves and others at risk just to prove a point that’s disputable. It’s a sad state of affairs, big guy, but many of us are still holding out for a miracle of sorts.

On a personal note, I can’t complain. I’ve been immensely blessed this year and I’ve tried hard to bless others as often as I’ve been able. As a family we experienced a wealth of loss last year, burying more than our fair share of family members. It was bad. This year we welcomed babies! Lots of new babies. Life continues and it’s a choice whether we keep up, or not.

I don’t have a lengthy wish list this year, Santa. All I want is to see loved ones safe and healthy. I wish for abundance and prosperity for those in need and when you have a moment, blow some common sense though the air for those who do most of their thinking without their brains. I’m grateful to still be standing, Santa and I appreciate that I’m still able to do what I love. Even when things got hard and all seemed lost, I continued to be blessed and I don’t take that for granted. Some more of that would really be nice.

Lastly, some kid out there has a pony on her wish list Santa. Please, don’t make her wait for thirty-plus years to get it. I’m still trying to figure out your problem with giving a girl a stallion! Just imagine what I could have accomplished if I’d gotten mine when I’d originally asked.

Keep your head down, Claus! We’ve missed you and we want to see you again next year. Give the Mrs. my regards and kisses to the elves. Tell Rudolph we know about that problem of his and we’re keeping him lifted in prayer. That bright red nose is a dead giveaway! Booze rarely solves problems long term, but I understand. Starting my day with a shot of bourbon in my coffee had become a bad habit I had to break. Might I suggest organic juices for our four-legged friend?

Continue to bless us with joy and love, Santa! I promise to try to do the same.

Until next year,

Deborah

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

BESTIES

I respect my limitations. I know there are some things I’m just not good at. Although my intentions are always good, I regularly fall short of full and total success. Much like this blog that I seem to regularly forget about, I’m bad about calling people and keeping up with them. My inability to remember and acknowledge birthdays and anniversaries defies logic. Some things come to me after-the-fact and by then, it’s usually too late. My social etiquette skills are just horrific more times than not.

I have a bestie who never forgets an important date and regularly follows up with the appropriate card or acknowledgement. She sends the perfect gifts when a loved one is lost and never misses a celebration of someone’s accomplishments. She has regularly put me to shame, and I’ve always envied her ability to make what seems unfathomable look so easy.

Lately though, I think she’s given up the ghost and I can’t much blame her. Hell, why call folks who don’t try to call you? This Thanksgiving was not the first holiday I didn’t hear from her. The last few years have seen her bypassing those of us who look like we don’t appreciate her and her efforts. So, this year I did call for the holiday. Albeit two days late, but two days was a true win for me. Not that I’m defending my actions, but hell, I know my shortcomings and there is no point in me lying about them.

I love my dear friend and her ability to remember and acknowledge those of us in her life has always been a blessing to me and many, many others. You could depend on her like clockwork and personally, I became very comfortable with that. I could fall short because she was there to pick up me and my slack. But I can also see that her not getting that back from me could be perceived as me being selfish and diminishing. I have no doubts that it has raised questions about the depth of our friendship and whether or not I am truly someone she can still depend on.

I genuinely want to do better and be a better friend. And I know that I’ll put forth the effort but like that last diet, it might not last long. It’s not who or how I am but it also doesn’t negate my love and affection for the woman who is more sister to me than anything else. She has always been my rock and my cheerleader, encouraging me forward when I didn't think I could take another step. She's my oldest and dearest friend and I love her unconditionally. She is my bestie! She knows me better than most, so I hope, if nothing else, she knows my heart.

Monday, June 14, 2021

A GOOD DAY!

 Yesterday was a good day! I love book events. I'm also partial to book clubs because book club members are pure joy! Yesterday, I was honored to visit with the Round Table Readers Literary Book Club. It was their first post-pandemic, in-person book club meeting and my being able to pull up a chair to the table and talk books with them made my heart sing! It was also two years ago today that Round Table Readers also hosted me.

Their book choice had been STALKED BY SECRETS, the fourth book in my To Serve and Seduce series. They had great questions, challenged my thought process, and taught me a thing or two. They always hold me accountable with my stories and I try not to disappoint. The conversations were engaging and the laughter abundant. Of note, I've given up playing the trivia games. I never win and most leave me in the dust with the old school music and movie questions. It's amazing how much I don't know or remember!

I'm also a tad biased when it comes to these women. I consider myself an honorary member of Round Table Readers. I've often invited myself to their meetings to rub elbows with my fellow authors. They've generously included me in their activities and I've often said I need to start paying dues so I can get in on their cool tee shirts. They always have the coolest tee shirts!

These women have supported my writing for years now! I love them to pieces! My sincerest appreciation to Ms. Kay Edmundson who chose this month's book and Mr. LaSheera Lee for always having my back. Kudo's to the staff and patrons of da Vinci's Table for the great service, spectacular food, and wonderful entertainment. And a nod to God who showed up and showed out with the most spectacular weather and a potential blessing that no one saw coming!





Saturday, April 10, 2021

CARELESS WHISPERS by SYNITHIA WILLIAMS


I love a good love story and my sister-author-friend Synithia Williams has done it once again with her newest Jackson Falls novel CARELESS WHISPERS. Anyone familiar with Synithia and Jackson Falls and the Robidoux family have been waiting with bated breath for Elaina Robidoux’s story and Synithia does not disappoint. She brings the sexy, the messy, and the drama to the pages making this a delightful, page turner that you will not want to put down. 
 

I asked Synithia about writing the romances she writes. 

“My life is pretty routine. I get up in the morning, get the kids ready for school (virtually currently), work a day job, prepare dinner in the evenings, and spend time with the family before bed. But, right before bed, I get to do something amazing. I sit down in front of my laptop and I get to write sexy, messy, romantic stories. I’m not surrounded by drama, lies, secrets, and glamours settings (my seven tiaras excluded) but I get to let my imagination run wild crafting stories that are full of heart, some humor, lots of drama, and plenty of heat.  

“My latest novel, Careless Whispers, is the fourth book in my Jackson Falls Series. A series that was inspired by my love of romance novels. In Careless Whispers Elaina Robidoux is suddenly ousted from her family’s business. A business she sacrificed so much for. To reestablish herself in the business world she has to work with the man who is partially to blame for her firing. Alex Tyson was once the bane of her existence, but as they work together, and Alex not only sees her vulnerable side but cherishes that part of her an unexpected love grows. I love my pretty routine life and wouldn’t voluntarily invite any of the drama I put in my stories into my day to day, but it sure is fun to explore the richness of human emotions and the beauty of falling in love through my writing.”

DRAMA! DRAMA! DRAMA! I get excited just thinking about it! But why don't I just give you a little tease so you can get excited too!


“This is the family’s room.”

She said the words as if he were a toddler encroaching upon a forbidden space. He supposed Elaina did view him as an unruly child. “That’s what he told me.” He stood and put out the cigar in the crystal ashtray next to the leather sofa.

When he looked back at Elaina, her eyes narrowed. Alex’s stomach did an unwelcome flip. He hated how much he was attracted to her. He’d rather be attracted to a man-eating succubus than Elaina. At least a succubus would take him out with a smile on his face. Elaina was not the type of woman to bring a smile to a man’s face.

She was beautiful. Her thick, wavy dark hair looked so damn soft. God was the only person who knew how many times he’d considered the softness of her hair, her smooth terra-cotta skin, or her full lips, and even then he’d deny it on judgment day. Her chestnut-brown eyes were bright and sparked with intelligence when they weren’t narrowed with skepticism or frozen over with disdain. Then there were her curves. The woman could make men stop in their tracks. He knew because he’d seen it happen. Full breasts, trim waist and rounded hips. He’d wanted to taste her luscious lips the second he’d seen her. Until she’d opened her mouth and told him all the reasons Robidoux Holdings didn’t need him.

He wasn’t sure why Elaina disliked him so much. Despite the rumors that he wanted the CEO position, he didn’t, and had made that very clear to Grant. A part of him was glad she openly despised him. Knowing he had absolutely zero chance with her made ignoring the way his body automatically reacted to her easier.

“There are other places you could have gone. Why did he let you up here?”

Alex wasn’t in the mood to argue. He also avoided being alone with her for too long to prevent any evidence of his crush from showing. If Elaina got a hint that he was attracted to her, she’d have his balls skinned and mounted on her wall like a trophy in no time.

“Ask him, Elaina,” he said in the blasé tone he used with her. “Your father invited me. I decided to come. I won’t be bothering you anymore.” He walked toward the door.

Elaina grunted softly. “I guess today’s the day I run men off.” The words were muttered under her breath.

Alex stopped at the door. Her hand shook as she brought her drink to her lips.

He frowned at the unusual display of a chink in her armor. Her words hadn’t been for him to hear, and he had no reason to find out what was wrong, but the slight slump of her shoulders tugged at an empathetic soft spot he hadn’t realized he possessed. “Are you okay?”

Her head whipped in his direction. Her eyes widened, and her arched brows drew together. “Of course I’m okay. Go down to the party and enjoy the free food.”

The coarseness of her words bristled. His hand tightened on the doorknob. He was ready to leave without another word, until the light glinted off the sheen of tears in her eyes. She looked away quickly and went further into the room.

Unsettled, Alex stared at her profile against the window. Elaina was a force to be reckoned with. If he made any reference to her tears, he might end up with his jugular ripped out. He didn’t have a clue what to say to lift her spirits. The two of them weren’t friends or cordial colleagues. Yet that newly discovered empathy wouldn’t let him leave without saying something.

“You did a great job on the party.”

She frowned at him. “What?”

“The party. I know you did most of the planning. From what I can tell, you did a great job.”

Her chin lifted. “It’s not that hard.”

“Still, I know your dad appreciates it.”

She sipped her drink. “Doubtful.”

“He does. But even if you don’t believe it, then know that I appreciate it.”

“Why would you appreciate it?” she asked suspiciously.

He thought about her earlier comment. “I like free food,” he said with a smile. Her mouth fell open. He’d at least succeeded in surprising her and taking away the sad look in her eyes. Alex hurried out the door before she could think of a snarky reply.

It's only a tease, but you get the idea! CARELESS WHISPERS is available wherever books are sold so go get your copy NOW! And please don't miss the other books in the Jackson Falls series. You'll be disappointed if you do.



Synithia has loved romance novels since reading her first one at the age of 13. It was only natural she would begin penning her own soon after. It wasn’t until 2010 that she began to actively pursue her dream of becoming a published author. She completed her first novel, You Can’t Plan Love, in the fall of 2010 and sold it to Crimson Romance in 2012.

Her novel Making it Real was a USA Today Happily Ever After blog 2015 Must Read Romance and A Malibu Kind of Romance a 2017 RITA finalist. Synithia has also written two books under the pseudonym Nita Brooks.

When she isn’t writing, she works on water quality issues for local government while balancing the needs of her husband and two sons.

You can discover more about Synithia and her books HERE!